Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Grace by Elizabeth Scott

Title: Grace

Author: Elizabeth Scott

Rating: 9/10

Publisher: Dutton

Summary:Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate.
Told in spare, powerful prose by acclaimed author Elizabeth Scott, this tale of a dystopian near future will haunt readers long after they've reached the final page.

My Thoughts: Grace is extremely different from Elizabeth Scott's previous novels. Instead of being realistic fiction, it's dystopian. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​There is no light and fun romance, as found in many of Scott's novels. Open the pages of Grace and you will find a much darker story about a girl with a desperation to live.

Grace was raised knowing she'd die murdering others. She knew it would be her job, her destiny. But then, she decides that she just doesn't want to die, that there has to be something else out there for her, and she finds herself pretending to be someone else, her life depending on a complete stranger, and running for her life. Once the book starts, the desperation for Grace to be okay and get out alive never stops. I was sitting at the edge of my seat, holding my breath, as I read the novel.

I did find a few faults in the book, however. For one, I found myself slightly confused at certain points, trying to keep the Angels and the People and who was who and allied with who straight. I was also hoping the end was longer but maybe the fact I didn't want the story to end is a good thing.

Overall, though, I highly recommend Grace. It's a fantastic novel that is sure to throw some twists you won't see coming and introduce characters you can't help but connect with. If you're looking for something different than what's out there, this is your book.

It comes out September 16 and I suggest you get a copy when you can!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Anna and the French Kiss
Stephanie Perkins
December 2nd, 2010

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris until she meets ƒtienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna and readers have long awaited?
I decided it was time to take a break from the paranormal and feature something realistic. I found out about this at ALA, when James kept talking about getting a copy. Little did I know that I'd actually heard about the book before. In fact, I followed the author on Twitter! So when I got home, I looked it up and I must say, it looks fantastic. I always love good, old-fashioned romance with real characters and real boys (not fallen angels or anything) and it looks like this will be just that! December, come faster!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Alexandra Adornetto
August 31st, 2010

Three angels are sent down to bring good to the world: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. But she is the most human, and when she is romantically drawn to a mortal boy, the angels fear she will not be strong enough to save anyone—especially herself—from the Dark Forces.

Is love a great enough power against evil?
Ooooh, angels! They're one of my favorite aspects of YA paranormal, one that I haven't read a lot about. It'll be interesting to read about not one but three of them, along with a romance! Luckily, we don't have long to wait. (And isn't the cover GORGEOUS?!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Censorship and YA

Today, I found this blog post when Ellen tweeted about it. As I read it, and a few other posts, I became more and more appalled. For those that don't know, Ellen Hopkins was scheduled to attend the Humble TeenLitFest in 2011 but was UNINVITED when "several" (five? six?) parents and ONE librarian decided to raise a fuss. Without ever having read any of Ellen's books, the superintendent decided to UNINVITE her. Without reading one of her books. Because ONE librarian and "several" parents decided her books were "inappropriate" for ALL the teens attending the festival.

Anyway see the problem here? 1.) You don't just UNINVITE someone to something like that and 2.) Why is the superintendent going on the opinion of ONE librarian?

It's absolutely, positively absurd. CRAZY. Because you know what?

NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO TELL ME WHAT TO READ. NO ONE. My parents don't even tell me what I'm allowed to read yet ONE person whom most of the teens have probably never even met has the right to decide what ALL of them are allowed to read?

Ellen's books can be hard to read, I'll admit. They are not necessarily for the younger readers. But they are by no means "bad" books. They're REAL. They cover topics TEENS DEAL WITH EVERYDAY. They do NOT encourage teens to do anything bad. If anything, they shine the light and show teens WHY certain decisions are bad. (Example - Crank. Every day, we hear "drugs are bad, stay away from drugs" and maybe that will sink in for some of us and be enough but Crank? Crank shows exactly WHY not to do drugs, the repercussions of doing drugs, the good and the bad, and everything in between. It's the reality teens need to read.)

But, as I said, maybe some teens aren't ready to read about that yet. I understand and respect that, as I'm sure Ellen and everyone else does. But here's the thing - it's up to the parent and the teen to decide that. It's NOT up ONE random STRANGER to make that decision for EVERYONE.

Okay, okay, you get my point. But you don't live in Houston so why should you care? Well, I don't live in Houston either. This particular event isn't affecting me at all. I won't be there whether or not Ellen is.

This is only the beginning of the fight though. These things happen every day, all over. Books are being pulled from libraries for being written by gay teens, parents are causing a fuss all over about various books for various reasons. Teens are being deprived the chance to read books that could potentially change their lives because one or two or three adults decide books are not "appropriate" for ANYONE. It needs to stop, now. And the only way that's going to happen is if we, as the readers, the teens, the authors, and everyone else, step up, spread the word, and take a stand. THAT's why it matters to me.

Teens are not as stupid as parents seem to think. We have eyes, we have ears. We see the world as it is. Taking books away from us is not "protecting" us. If anything, it's doing the opposite. If you don't think a book is appropriate for YOUR teen, don't let them read it. But you don't know what I'M capable of comprehending and understanding, you don't know what I'M going through, you don't know what books are going to affect ME. So stop trying to take them away!

Tera Lynn Childs, Melissa de la Cruz, and Pete Hautman have taken a stand. Ellen Hopkins most definitely has. Now it's up to us.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

MIA Harmony

Just a quick note to let everyone know I'm not going to be blogging much, if at all, this week. The PAYA Festival is this Saturday and I'm going to be supersuper busy preparing.

I hope to see some of you there! There's still time to register for the workshops!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Andrea Cremer
October 19, 2010

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?
Once again, isn't this cover GORGEOUS?! I looove the shades of purple in it. Love. I really wanted to get a copy of this at ALA but by the time I got there, they'd run out of ARCs. The summary makes it sound so good, though. It definitely seems to be a unique spin on werewolves and maybe even a love triangle?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Spotlight an Old Review: Chill by Deborah Reber

Over the past two+ years, I've reviewed a LOT of books. I've decided to start "featuring" an old review every week or so. Feel free to join in!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve had to deal with stress over things like getting a huge assignment done on time, looking perfect for the school dance, and dealing with friend and family drama. You may even start your day at six in the morning and end it at midnight, trying to keep up with all 200 of your Facebook friends, as well as keep your grades up, and deal with everything else that comes with being a teenager...(To read more of the review click here)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

I used to do the occassional WoW before I switched over to Blogger. With so many awesome books coming out, I decided it was time to start up again! So, today, I present you with:


Kiersten White
August 31st, 2010

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.


Okay, tell me that cover doesn't catch your eye! It has to be one of THE most gorgeous covers I've ever seen. That alone is enough to make me lust over this book! Besides the cover, the summary sounds fantastic as well. It's paranormal, obviously, but it sounds really original! I can't wait to check this one out!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt

Author: Lindsey Leavitt

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Rating: 8.5/10

Summary: When an immaculately dressed woman steps out of an iridescent bubble and asks you if you'd like to become a substitute princess, do you

a) run

b) faint

c) say Yes!

For Desi Bascomb, who's been longing for a bit of glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite C--that is, once she can stop pinching herself. As her new agent Meredith explains, Desi has a rare magical ability: when she applies the ancient Egyptian formula "Royal Rouge," she can transform temporarily into the exact lookalike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?

Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras. Like, what do you do when a bullying older sister puts you on a heinous crash diet? Or when the tribal villagers gather to watch you perform a ceremonial dance you don't know? Or when a princess's conflicted sweetheart shows up to break things off--and you know she would want you to change his mind?

In this hilarious, winning debut, one girl's dream of glamour transforms into something bigger: the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time.

My Thoughts: You know how sometimes you just need that short, fun, feel-good book that may be too young for you? Princess for Hire is that book. It's also the perfect book to give to your younger sister or cousin or that 6th grader on the bus with no friends. Basically, Princess for Hire is just a book that you should read.

Desi is a character I couldn't help but love. I mean, the poor girl wears a groundhog costume as a job! And while not all of us have an attorney for a dad, I imagine most of us have had a "best friend" turn on us and a crush that makes us feel all fuzzy inside. On that note, there's a piece of Desi in all of us, which makes the story so much fun because we've all been in her shoes. Well, maybe not in her shoes because I don't think any of us have found ourselves thrown into the a princess's life before but, you never know!

Desi's realistic-ness aside, the plot of Princess for Hire was great as well. Even though it's been compared to Ella Enchanted and the Princess Diaries, I found it to be 110% unique. I will admit that at first, I thought it was going to end up being cheesy but it ended up being everything but cheesy. Like Kay Cassidy's The Cinderella Society, Princess for Hire is a little bit of empowering, along with fun and light. Many of the situations that Desi found herself in also made me laugh out loud. The various personalities of the royal families also added humor and depth to the story.

I truly enjoyed Princess for Hire and I recommend it to anyone looking for a light, fun read!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Writing Blogs I Heart

I follow a lot of blogs. I haven't had time to read a lot of blogs. (My Google Reader has a couple thousand unread posts, at the moment.) There are a few blogs that I make sure I look at frequently, however. These tend to be writing blogs.

Author2Author - This follows 5 YA authors as they talk about various aspects of writing and publishing. They're all at different stages of their careers (Lisa Schroeder has 4 books out and some of the others don't have agents yet) so there's always an interesting variety of posts.

Kelsey Sutton's blog is full of fun writing info and she also finishes off each post with links to other writing-related posts that I may overlook. Plus, Kelsey is just plain cool and one of my critique girls, so there's no way I can just not read her blog. It's rather new, though, so you should go follow her!

Teens Writing for Teens - I don't remember to read this as often as I'd like but basically, it's a group of teens writing about writing. They have some pretty awesome advice, too.

Finally, there's a new blog on the block - the YA Lit Six. It's another brainchild of mine and, as the title suggests, there's six of us writing about writing. We have a pretty eclectic group, with the except we're all under 21 and we're all girls. But, we have two published authors, a few querying, and a few working on rough drafts. I post on Mondays so be sure to check it out!